Sunday, December 27, 2020

Dec-19: Holiday Range Road Rover??? No, but ...

A Holiday ride?  Yes. 
Range Road Rover?  No. 
Usually, if the "Irregular" crew does a Holiday ride, it is done between Christmas and New Year's Day. 
But this year, I put out an email asking if there was interest in a ride on Saturday-the-19th. 
I suggested a couple alternatives in addition to the Range Road Rover. 
There were limited responses, and to recognize the chilly conditions expected and 
In acknowledgement of LOW traffic desires and perhaps another reason or two, 
The three absolute "yes" riders agreed to a 40-mile ride from PUE starting at 10 am. 
The route would be the same as this one, but starting from PUE instead of inside northern Raleigh. 
[PUE is just off the drawn route at the 4.4-mile mark.] 
I rode from my abode, starting at about 9:20 am, and 
Being concerned that a soft-pedal 8-mile commute might have me arrive at PUE too close to 10 am, but 
Also concerned that traffic on Six Forks Rd crossing I-540 might be a bit much, 
I decided to take Honeycutt to Durant to Six Forks to MVC Rd to PUE, thus bypassing the busy area. 
Waiting at the stop-light at the MVC / Norwood intersection, a black RAV-4 beeped at me.  I waived. 
A few minutes later, just after halting my steed's movement once well inside the PUE parking lot, 
I asked Iva, "that was you that beeped at me, yes?" 
Iva confirmed, but noted that he had thought I was Lt. Dave coming to the ride. 
It was still only 9:50, so not wanting to stand around and get sweaty, 
I announced I would ride half a mile on Pleasant Union Ch Rd and return. 
I actually rode all the way to the sharp curve -- actually more of a 90-degree turn -- 
On PUC Rd and back (and enjoying my ride, I absent-mindedly started to ride past PUE on the return). 
Our group of three set off on time, Iva mentioning, even before his first pedal stroke, 
That his face was cold, but the rest of hiself was warm. 
I assured him that that would change within a mile. 
[I.e., before reaching the bottom of the MVC Rd decline.] 
A short pause at the stop-light at NC-50 -- it seemed we had invoked the invisible induction loop 
Even before the car coming from behind reached a position where it would have tripped the signal. 
Across the flat section of MVC to make the left onto Carpenter Pond Rd. 
Rolling flat of Carpenter Pond with little traffic. 
["Rolling flat" -- 12 years ago I would never have included "flat" in the description.]
Down Coley into what I assumed at the time was a light breeze. 
U-turn at the highway and back up Coley half-way to Kemp. 
Right onto Kemp, down the hill to Southview, and turn toward Baptist Rd. 
All ride long, I know that Bob initiated no chats.  Well, maybe once or twice. 
I recall I initiated almost no chatting. 
Strangely, because he is almost certainly the least fast among the three of us, 
Iva initiated chat after chat, sometimes from behind and other times from beside another of us. 
Baptist Rd continues into the state park / recreation area next to Falls Lake. 
I recall only one time that I ever had to turn around at the closed entrance to the park. 
Every other time, including today, I / we have ridden all the way down to the cul de sac 
Right next to the lake -- which was gray and looked cold and forbidding. 
I mentioned aloud, or was it only a silent thought, that 
On warm days, the picnic table next to the cul de sac makes a nice place for a mid-ride picnic. 
Sometimes, after making the turn-around, the climb away from the lake is no-climb at all. 
Sometimes, the climb away is a climb. 
And I recall times when riding with "Serendity" that it is a hard climb. 
[It ain't that steep, but it is more than nothing.] 
Backing up, as we approached the park, I mentioned to Iva and Bob, in case they had forgotten, 
That there are two speed-bumps within the park -- "sharp" speed bumps, 
That I usually ride over at quite an angle in order to minimize the thump. 
Between the two speed bumps as we rode away from the lake, 
Iva asked, "didn't there used to be a time-trial on Baptist Rd?" 
I replied, "yes, an informal one.  Once a month during the warm months.  
"But some people would come with serious time-trial machines. 
"The time-trials had to stop once those speed bumps were put on the roadway. 
"In what was probably the last year of time-trails, I came out twice. 
"Once probably in May and then again in September, the last TT of the year. 
"I was seeded as the slowest rider, so I started first, and others every 30 seconds, I think. 
"I started first and I was the very last to finish." 
Iva made a comment about I probably rode pretty fast, or 
Maybe it was that others must have been pretty fast. 
I reckon others were fast.  
I was "fast" -- for me -- maybe -- I'll have to check. 
On Virgil Rd, I pointed out the pond and the log where, 
During warmer months, up to four turtles at the same time had sunned themselves. 
On this date, the pond was VERY full of water and the log was barely visible. 
No turtles. 
Although I had heard a fair bit of gear-shifting from the other two, 
I had again decided to do the entire ride in 39/14 gearing. 
The only times I had struggled were on the steeper parts of Southview on the return, and 
On the climb on Kemp Rd from Southview to Virgil. 
Interestingly, with the shallow inclines on Virgil, my legs recovered. 
We stopped at the top of Virgil -- there was a car or two coming on Carpenter Pond Rd, and 
That corner has always been a favorite of mine to take a moment to put a foot on the roadway, and 
Take a good drink, and 
If others are along, have a short chat. 
On the last climb of the day -- MVC Rd up to PUE -- 
I asked Iva if he had noticed that the surface in the other lane was failing? 
In the same place(s) it had failed when first the current surface had been put on. 
Iva replied that he hadn't made that connection, but 
Recalled that the improved surface (probably 8 or 10 years ago) had made that climb 15% easier. 
[I recall that Iva used to indicate that it was 20% easier.] 
Into the sunny and protected from the wind PUE parking lot, our respective steeds brought to a halt, 
Iva indicated 40.2-miles (or was it 40.3?). 
After inquiry, Iva indicated that his GPS unit indicated 44.4-degrees-F. 
I don't know if that is a report of where we stood (in the sunshine), or 
If that is a temp reported as if by magic from some "central" location. 
[I'll mention that it was about 29-degrees-F when I started my commute ride at 9:20.] 
Some quick chats, including suggesting to Bob that in the winter, 
He should park next to where Iva had parked. 
Iva's RAV-4 was in sunshine and reportedly quite warm inside. 
Bob's vehicle was parked in a shaded area. 
Anyway, Iva putting his gear and machine into his vehicle. 
Bob starting to put his gear and machine into his vehicle. 
I was about to get the cycle-commute back to my abode underway. 
Bob asked, as he often does, if I would like a ride back. 

"No, thanks," I said, "I'm planning on riding back, with a bit extra, to get in a 100+ km ride." 

Bob responded, "well, Retta's gift is a bit big for you to carry on your bike." 

"Oh," said I, "in that case I accept your offer of a ride." 

As Iva noted, "first things first."

Saturday, December 26, 2020

Nov-29: "TT" route 'n Quiet "Lynn Roads" for 100+ kms

Wait 'Till Too Late and Ride Some In the Dark 
first, a RWGPS of the "psuedo route" -- (
- I actually started from my abode, but for public maps I like to show the start from a public place. 
- - approx 2560 ft of climbing in 63.8-miles --> approx 40 ft per mile (avg). 
- and in case someone actually reads this some day:  I do NOT have a GPS unit of any sort
actual route stats -- 65.5-miles, 4:39 in-motion (~ 14.1 avg mph) in 4h45 elapsed time -- I had NO time to pause for photos. 
- note that I started the ride at 1:25 pm, finished at 6:10 pm -- yes, the last half-hour was quite dark. 
- with 20 miles still to go, with 15 miles still to ride -- I was CERTAIN I would cramp tonight. 
- - however, I slightly backed off the effort on the flat, downslope, and shallow incline sections and the legs were much better at the finish. 
- - I suffered on some of the climbs in the last 25-miles. E.g., 
- - - Kemp up to Virgil, 
- - - middle of MVC up to Norwood, 
- - - bottom of Norwood up to Six Forks, 
- - - bottom of Honeycutt headed "home". 
Oh, one more thing of note: 
- I stayed in the 39/14 gearing the ENTIRE ride. 
- - I was tempted on Norwood and Honeycutt to use some smaller gears, but I can be stubborn and determined. 
- - (Not as stubborn and determined as some (e.g., LL), but ... .)  
btw, the temp at the start, with the thin layer of clouds sucking all the heat out of the sunshine, was about 63F. By the finish, the temp was around 53F, but the last two hours the temp felt chillier than that. There was almost no breeze, but 14 to 20 mph will create an apparent wind and effectively create a wind-chill temperature significantly below that. 
I was wearing my arm-warmers the entire ride -- started as little more than wrist-warmers, but became forearm-warmers and ultimately full arm-warmers. I finally had to adjust them so that no skin was showing between the bottom of the short sleeves and the top of the warmers. Once no skin was exposed between the arm warmers and the jersey sleeves, I felt warmer (almost) everywhere -- the exposed fingers occasionally were chilly and toward the end of the ride, some of my toes were chilled (perhaps mostly on downslope sections).  
I was pleased with my late Sunday afternoon / early evening ride. 
First time I've really used the USB re-chargeable head-light that I found on-line more than a year ago ("first use" except for dark work commutes, but commutes of 1.1-mile each direction hardly counts, does it?). 
But the head-light is not why I'm pleased -- I'm pleased that I avg'd 14-mph for 100+ kms on a somewhat hilly course even though I haven't done any hilly rides longer than 30 or 35 miles for at least three months -- been getting my "monthly" 100 km rides on the greenway (by riding 17+ miles to meet Iva or MickH, then riding 28 or 30 miles on the greenway with them, then riding the 17+ miles back to the start. 
Christmas decorations were up at many homesteads along the route and I tried to take notice the last 15+ miles of the ride (as daylight transitioned into dusk and then evening/night-time darkness). 


The just risen nearly full moon was visible ahead of me on some road(s) -- probably the "flat" part of Mt Vernon Ch Rd between Carpenter Pond Rd and NC-50 (as that seems to be the only road heading in the correct direction just before and after sunset – or maybe the moon appeared while I was on Norwood Rd – certainly there was no where on Carpenter Pond Rd that would have in the correct direction(?)).  The moon was a very fuzzy, big, nearly round globe -- fuzzy because of the thin overcast of clouds obscuring what would have been a bright nearly full-moon.  
On the MVC climb, after the steeper part near the bottom was behind me and the road was become straight-ish, there was an eery lighted apparition at the top of the climb.  I wondered what it was.  I thought maybe that "dual monolith" in that field near the school was lighted and I was seeing that -- but I reasoned that those "two legs" are not in line with the road and are also behind a screen of trees.  I couldn't figure out what the lighted thing(s) was(were).  Then, I got close enough to figure it out -- three small landscape trees of that new, fancy housing development on the left side the road were what I was seeing. 

Anyway, I am still pleased that I was able to do that ride, staying in the 39/14 gearing the entire ride, and did NOT cramp.  

I did pre-emptively use TonyG's cramp cure when I got back to my place -- six ounces of water with too much salt dissolved in same.  I may not have needed to do that since my legs had stopped aching after the last 15 or so miles of the ride (I had backed off the effort because the legs were complaining before that), but "an ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure".  

I proved to myself that if there is a January Populaire available that I can get to, that I can complete it (and get the last ride of an interrupted P-36).  However, I have decided that if there is not a Populaire that I can ride in January, I will not worry about it as, in the final analysis, rando rides are just bicycle rides. 
Addendum Dec-03:  During the last "mile" in the dark to get to my abode, I noticed that most of the sidewalk transitions to cross the side-street and parking lot entrances had been "shaved" recently.  Perhaps even during the 4 1/2 hours since the start of my ride.  It was very easy to see the shaved concrete in the bright light from my head-lamp as the shaved places were a brilliant white compared to the faded gray around them.  I had not noticed the shaved places at the start of my ride, but since it was still daylight and I was alert to traffic, etc., and this was a Sunday afternoon ride, my guess now is that the shavings had taken place several days earlier. 
Today, the "shaving" team is working on the sidewalk that goes by the front of my abode.  I walked the half-mile to the grocery store and sure-enough all the places where one slab of sidewalk had become higher than the next slab, well, there are now newly-shaved, bright-white "ramps" smoothing the way.  I'll be doing a lot fewer "bunny hops" on the bicycle in the near term.   

Nov-26: Thanksgiving Afternoon Ride

After the roads dried out from the overnight and morning drizzles, I did sneak in a short ride late in the afternoon.  Delayed afternoon start even more because I noticed that my phone was almost out of juice.  Started riding at about 2:55 pm, intending to ride about 30 miles and finish around 5:15 pm. [A 30-ish mile ride would have looked something akin to this from the other day.]  

However, almost from the first, I recall it was on Durant Rd, so between 2.0 and 3.4 miles into the ride. I felt the occasional water droplets alighting on my knees, so I became amenable to something shorter, and if I was going to go shorter, I should "attack" the ride with more gusto.  
Similar to that shown in the above-linked GPS route, I did ride down Bay Leaf Ch Rd all the way to the lake (or rather to where the gate is across the road), and then rode thru the neighborhood off the west side of BLC Rd.  However, while descending Possum Track, the occasional water droplets became a mist, and then a heavier mist; then, as I transited the finger of the lake that Possum Track crosses, I could see the rain drops splashing on the lake and thought, "oh, it is going to actually rain; I definitely better cut this short and head for [the barn]."  So I turned onto Raven Ridge to head to Brassfield, Durant, Honeycutt and then on in via the sidewalks. 
When I turned onto Raven Ridge, I was averaging 15-mph, but the incline on Raven Ridge (which is not all that steep, but does keep going and going), put me at least a minute behind 15-mph pace.  Flat-tish Brassfield and downslope on Durant got some of that back.  But, then, on the steep part of Honeycutt (near the bottom), I lost momentum and cadence and pace.  In-motion pace dropped to 7-mph (or maybe slightly less) and, combined with the sidewalk riding and navigating a car or two blocking said sidewalks while they waited for traffic on the road cleared them by, I ended up two minutes over the time that would have meant a 15-mph avg pace for the entire 16.6+ miles rather hilly ride.  
I can't avg near that pace for 40 or 60 miles, but shorter rides are the time to practice speed, right?  
Oh, stayed in the 39/14 gearing the entire ride today (and also did that on the ride shown in the GPS linked route).  [Earlier this year, I did some similar rides staying in the 39/15 all ride, but 39/14 always seemed too hard.  I don't understand how the 39/14 could have felt more-or-less almost comfortable the last two rides, because I haven't been cycling about enough to get into reasonable enough shape that might make 39/14 logical.] 
So, yes, a boring / annoying ride report.

Friday, December 25, 2020

Nov-22: Short Climbing Ride

 ( "center" portion of the ride this date )

My cycle confuser ended up with 29.6-miles (with luck, the above RWGPS map will come out to be approx 2-miles short of that -- because I rode about a mile on the sidewalks at the beginning and end of the ride to essentially get to where that route starts and ends).  

29.6-miles, with approx 1680 ft climbing (per RWGPS), in 2:09 in-motion -> 13.7-mph avg.  
[AMAZING -- the draft route, starting/ending at my abode come up with ~ 1680 ft of climbing. 
But the revised route linked above comes up with only about 1330 ft of climbing. 
The approx 2-miles of sidewalk riding should account for only approx 60 ft, 
Yet RWGPS estimates are a whopping 350 apart. 
For those that think that RWGPS has reasonable estimates of the amount of climbing: 
(I have other weird RWGPS results that put disbelief on RWGPS estimates.)]
The first mile (on the sidewalks) took 5-minutes & that is an avg of 12-mph 
- - I put in more effort that first mile than I often do. 
- - Often that first mile takes 6-minutes in-motion. 
Only 4-minutes for the second mile, and I must have been holding back, because that is all downhill on Honeycutt. 
Anyway, from there until near the end I was avg'ing 14-mph (+/-). 
- - My legs were feeling the effort on the second decline on Possum Track all the way to the "lake". 
- - - - I imagine I started losing a bit of pace on the climb(s) back up from the lake after that. 
- - - - - - And the ride across Koupela can drag the pace down -- esp. after a repeating hill climbing exercise. 

Oh, one more thing -- the entire ride in 39/14 gearing. 
- - Usually, if I set out to use only one gear on a ride, I use the 39/15. 
- - - - 39/15 is a 2.60 ratio.  39/14 is a 2.786 ratio, which is 7.1% harder. 
- - Lots of standing on certain of those inclines. 
- - - - E.g., Bay Leaf Ch Rd, Possum Track, Deer Trail (where even RWGPS reports the incline exceeds 6%).

Oct-31: Long Assault on Flat Rock -- Shorted -- Again!

Ricochet Robert joined me for the ride. 
I was behind schedule, so I put the bike on the rack and drove the 5.6-miles to PUE. 
I got there three or five minutes after the agreed wheels away (8:00 am). 
No Robert. 
While wondering if he had been there on time (or even earlier), 
I prepared my steed and myself to ride. 
At eight or nine minutes after eight o'clock, I headed out in the direction from which Robert would come. 
I encountered him almost immediately -- at any rate, before getting to Norwood Rd.  
Robert appeared to be dressed in near full winter regalia. 
So was I. 
But Robert had already ridden seven or so miles, so he may have been a bit sweaty already? 
Long Assault of Flat Rock: 
Some chatting, but not much, on the opening leg to Grissom (11.4-miles into the course). 
After all, New Light / Bruce Garner Rd sometimes has too much traffic for conversation mode. 
Also, we were riding into a slight north breeze/wind. 
We zipped down Lawrence Rd, which became Mangum Dairy Rd just before the turn 
Onto Bold Run Hill Rd. 
I had thought / sorta'-planned to take a photo or two similar to the ones snapped in September, but 
Due to the chill or some other reason, I didn't. 
Even if I had snapped a new photo, I doubt it would have been as good as the one from 2010: 
 Nov-13-2010 ride.
Anyway, we continued our ride onto Purnell and then Camp Kanata roads, and 
Made the right turn onto Woodland Ch Rd (in September, LT and I had turned left to short the ride). 
Left onto Bud Smith Rd -- which a long kilometer later becomes Holden Rd. 
At the top of a non-trivial climb (non-trivial to me), we turned onto Sid Mitchell Rd. 
Almost immediately, we were engaged in some enthralling conversation. 
Sufficiently engaging that we rode past the turn at Green Rd without even noticing said road. 
However, when we reached the intersection with John Mitchell Rd, I knew we were off course. 
But as Robert was explaining something and the ride seemed to be going well, I mentioned nothing. 
Nothing, that is, until just before reaching NC-96. 
Stopping at the intersection with NC-96, I explained that we were off course, and 
Suggested a couple alternatives to continue or to short the ride. 
Ricochet chose the option to turn-around and ride back to John Mitchell 
Where we would turn south (and thus have a light breeze at our backs). 
John Mitchell soon became Graham Sherron Rd (roads usually change name at county lines). 
We made the appropriate turns to navigate the Graham Sherron / Woodland Church intersections. 
And by now, I was looking forward to the climb on GS to get up to Bruce Garner Rd. 
[It had been several years since I had ridden GS in that direction.] 
Left onto Bruce Garner and headed for "the barn." 
But, as usual, but not always, I upped the pace on the "Bruce Garner / New Light" time-trial section. 
Ricochet Robert, hanging onto my wheel, recalled a ride from years previous
8 or 9 years before, I had dragged all the fast-dudes back up to Robert, 
Who was hoping to hold off the fast-dudes and "win the stage." 
As soon as Robert started telling the story, I started laughing, 
Telling him that I knew exactly what he was going to say, but 
That he should tell it, anyway.  
He ended the story-telling by cussing me out for my actions those many days ago. 
I replied he had given me the same cussing out immediately after the ride he described. 
Big fun! 
For link to the original ride / skutching out, click here
Key text extracted: 
New Light, Ghoston, etc., and Robert "skutches me out". 

Ricochet Robert decided to try to tire the fast three-some still with us, 
Tito, Ags, Shane, 
AND build a lead on New Light that he might be able to carry to the top of Ghoston. 

I was still resting my lower back as we started on New Light, and 
IvaHawk and I were soon further back from the fasties than Robert was ahead. 
Robert did build quite a lead. 

I told Iva, that after half-a-mile or so, my back would be fine, and 
"We'll go get 'em." 
Iva was game. 

That's what we did. 
I pulled Iva up and past the kibitzing fasties, 
Closed to and went around Robert without a problem. 
Robert weighs 135 lbs. I weigh just under 160 lbs. 
The road on that stretch is mostly down-slope (heading for the river / lake). 
I generate more power that Robert. 
So, it was not difficult to make up the (nearly) quarter-mile to Robert. 

The problem, in Robert's view, was me passing the fasties. 
Because they picked up their pace from putz-kibitz to grab Iva's wheel. 
And the six-some was all back together well before reaching Ghoston. 

Robert can climb. 
But Ags, Tito and Shane can climb the little hills around here faster than Robert. 

Robert enjoyed skutching me out when we all got back to PUE. 
  • PUE  BoldRunHill-SidMitchell to 96-u-turn-GrahamShearon-MVC 
  • 0810, w/ Ricochet    --    45F, ovecast, N/NE breeze/wind 
  • 41.3-miles.  3:07 in-motion.  avg 13.2-mph in-motion. 
  • Robert would have ridden about 14-miles more commuting to and from the ride. 

Monday, December 21, 2020

Oct-21: IvaHawk Meets Me at Anderson Point

When Mick had originally contacted me about doing some rides on the Neuse River Trail (NRT), 
It was with the idea of doing several, perhaps even weekly, rides as he returned to cycling shape. 
However, he developed a need for some surgery on one of his ankles, and 
Concluded that he should not risk an open-wound injury from falling 
That would then prevent, or at least delay, the surgery. 
On my part, I had enjoyed the rides on the NRT, and thought a few more would be fun. 
So ... I contacted IvaHawk, asking if he would be interested in riding on the NRT. 
In the past couple years, his interest in riding on the open roads has waned, and 
Also he had morphed into preferring shorter rides -- 
I.e., 30 to 40 milers instead of 100-kms or even a bit more than that. 
Anyway, I talked the Hawk into meeting me at Anderson Point to ride from there to Clayton and back. 
I would start from the Falls Dam parking lot and ride to Anderson Point to meet him. 
And, of course, I'd ride back to the Dam once our joint ride was completed. 
This seems a reasonable place to comment on the bicycle riders I had observed on the NRT: 
  • some obvious pandemic caused newbies on (dis)comfort bikes, 
  • some of those hammering, some just enjoying being (out of the house), 
  • some likely pandemic caused newbies on decent to expensive road bikes, 
  • quite a few of those seem ill-fitted to their machines (or the other way 'round), 
  • some riders hammering away as if training for Tour de France, 
  • many with prodigious speed on the flat, but unable to climb even small inclines, 
  • families, 
  • the last category being my favorite because ... well, U should know. 
  • One woman was riding with a trail-a-bike and another youngster on their own bike, 
  • I caught up to them as they were negotiating their way onto and across one of the bridges. 
  • The mother appeared apprehensive about my approach from behind. 
  • I called out, "don't worry, mom, I got you covered." 
  • As I passed her, I mentioned that I had quite a few riders that would have given her not a moment as she dealt with her troop, given not an extra inch of space, because they were seemingly training for the Pro Tour.  She responded that she had discussed that very point, with same comment about "Tour de France" trainees on the pathway, with her husband the previous evening. 
  • As I said to the woman, "the speed limit is 10-mph, and I admit that I exceed that, " 
  • The woman interrupted, "but you slowed and gave way when needed."   
On this day, I started my ride from the Falls Dam parking lot rather later than previous meet-up rides. 
Perhaps I was getting a bit over-confident? 
What time did I start, you are certainly not asking? 
0742 is when I pushed off 
If it took 71-minutes to get to Anderson Point, I'd arrive only 7-minutes before the joint ride start. 
I arrived at the Anderson Point parking lot where Mick always parked -- no IvaHawk. 
I figured that I had better go exploring. 
I found Iva in the parking lot on the other side of the overpass. 
There are more "casual eyes" on Mick's preferred parking lot. 
I mentioned to Iva that the lot of his choice was more hidden from prying eyes, but 
That the other lot was more out in the open and had more traffic, 
So I thought it was generally safer. 
[In case you're wondering, no harm came to Iva's vehicle during our time away riding.] 
We rode the entire completed pathway all the way to where Mick and I had first ridden
Except that there was "police tape," more like "construction tape," keeping us 30 yards shorter. 
We kibbitzed a bit, and then headed back toward Anderson Point. 
I am very confident that there was much chatting about many subjects, but 
I cannot recall any of the subjects, and 
I almost certainly would not have been able to recall the subjects even during the ride. 
A couple moments of chatting as Iva put his steed and gear into his car, and 
Then I headed for "home" -- well, the Falls Dam parking lot. 
Just riding along, perhaps trying to push the pace a bit. 
Perhaps needing to let off the effort some of the time, esp. near the end. 
Only a couple hundred yards from reaching the Dam parking lot, 
I noticed the river and decided to stop to take a photo or two. 
This scene was likely easier to spot from the trail since a high percentage of the leaves have fallen off the trees and bushes -- that always opens up vistas.


Sunday, December 20, 2020

Sep-05: Long Assault on Flat Rock -- Shorted

I put out a call for an "Irregulars" ride for Saturday, September 5th.  
Suggesting the "Long Assault on Flat Rock." 
Only one person responded. 
There's a reason I named the group the "Irregulars" in the days before I took up randonneuring. 
Namely, participation was quite irregular. 
I left my abode at 0629 for the most-direct commute ride to PUE. 
En route, about a mile before reaching PUE, I rode past Lt. Dave's, but did not see him, so 
I completed my 5.6-mile, take-it-easy commute ride in 26-minutes. 
After he arrived at PUE, Dave indicated that he had seen me ride past his place. 
We waited in case any that had not committed to riding showed up -- but no one did. 
We started promptly on schedule at 0700. 
Since we had ridden an "Irregulars" ride on Aug-22nd, 
We didn't have that much "catching up" to do, conversation wise. 
Dave was stronger / faster on all the inclines. 
But we'd regroup on the declines or the flat bits in between the rollers. 
I had not ridden the valley of Bold Hill Run for several years, and 
I was much looking forward to doing so. 
Riding down into and thru the valley was fine. 
Then the climb out appeared. 
I had forgotten how steep the climb out was. 
Dave later indicated that he and his friend Rick/Rich/(?) had been riding Bold Run Hill Rd a lot, so 
He knew to expect what the climb out offered.  
As Dave rode on, distancing me on the climb, 
I decided to stop and take a photo mid-climb. 
The time to take that photo may have made Dave think that I had encountered trouble. 
But I explained that I had stopped to take a photo. 
I took two photos.  Not sure which I prefer.
The above two photos can be compared to a photo from almost the exact same location, 
With almost the exact same scene (just later in the year and with more color on the trees). 
For more from that Nov-2010 ride, click here.
I think he accepted that on face value [but maybe not?]
Either way, we decided to short the route, 
Turning left when we got to Woodland Ch Rd (instead of turning right). 
We took Woodland Ch Rd to Bruce Garner / New Light Rd and headed to his house 
To see some of the live action on the high mtns on the Sep-05 stage of the Tour de France. 
After the completion of the Tour stage, I head back to my place 
For a total ride of 48.6-miles, 3:26 in-motion, avg pace 14.1-mph when in-motion. 
Combined with an approx 1850 ft of climbing -- I judge that "acceptable." 

Friday, December 11, 2020

Carpenter Pond / "TT" Based Routes / Rides

Realizing that I've mostly been riding only two different routes, but with variants, and 
Consistent with the beginnings of this blog when I was using it mostly as a data back-up, and
Having nothing worth actually typing ("saying") about the rides, I decided to 
Group nine rides into two categories:  (1) Possum Tracking, (2) Carpenter Pond / "TT". 
This post captures six CP / "TT" based rides from September and October. 
First, an embed (I hope) of a RWGPS map of the "TT" / cadence course. 
That route is the kernel of the six rides outlined below. 
(There are other maps embedded in other recent blog posts which may include some of the "side-roads".) 

  • -> PUE:  "TT" course + Coley Rd --> 
  • 0828 start --> "TT" course w/ IvaHawk 
  • 45.6-miles.  3:26 in-motion.  avg 13.2-mph in-motion. 
  • I really ought to have something to type since the Hawk joined me for this ride.  But the main things I recall are:  (a) riding across Norwood Rd to Leesville Rd to show Iva the bike-lanes added on Leesville Rd between Norwood and Harrington Grove roads -- Iva was not interested in using the bike lane on the way back, so we came back the traditional Carpenter Pond, Mt Vernon Ch Rd route to get to Pleasant Union Elementary (PUE);  (b) Iva hadn't ridden out this way since he moved closer to downtown Raleigh a year or more ago (and maybe even longer than that?), so I'm sure we mentioned all the new housing developments on Leesville Rd and the ones being built on Doc Nichols Rd. 
  • When "Del Webb" started building and advertising the first housing developments on Leesville Rd, they ran TV commercials that included how great it was for residents of "Del Webb" developments because there were many activities including group bicycling rides that one could join - you know, long rides of 20 or 25 miles - and how one could improve one's time every ride.  Meanwhile, those of us that had been riding past where those new developments were changing the character of the roadsides thought that the "Del Webb" (and other) developments were ruining what had been perfectly great cycling roads. 
  • We knew that the area would eventually become over-filled with houses, etc., but personally, I would have preferred if it had taken another 10 years to over-build along there.  (However, once the "Brier's Creek" shopping and housing area, especially the shopping, "took off," the new housing was sure to appear, unfortunately sooner rather than later.) 
  • no photos 
  • -> via Honeycutt-Norwood to "TT" course -> return Norwood-Honeycutt 
  • 1300 start, solo 
  • 40.5-miles.  2:55 in-motion.  avg 13.8-mph in-motion. 
  • no photos 
  • -> via Honeycutt-Norwood to "TT" course -> return Norwood-Honeycutt 
  • 1235 start, solo    --    78 - 81 F, w/ annoying shifting strong breeze  
  • 40.4-miles.  2:52 in-motion.  avg 14.1 mph. 
  • no photos 
  • -> Honeycutt to "TT" course -> Honeycutt -> a friend's 
  • 1305 start, solo    --    77F +, w/ SW wind    --    2h58 elapsed 
  • 41.2-miles.  2:52 in-motion.  avg 14.3-mph. 

Man-made pond at the corner of Carpenter Pond and Coley roads -- taken from near the corner.

Same pond, but taken from about 50 or 75 yards east of the corner.  Almost the same location / view as several previous photos of this pond which can be seen on some of the previous blog posts from earlier this year.
  • -> Honeycutt -> PUE:  "TT course -> N/wood-6Forks-Strickland -> 
  • I did actually "pull in" at PUE to check something on the bike(?) or maybe to take or make a phone call or text.  (U don't expect me to remember 2+ months later do you?  And that lack of recollection is a good reason to get back to blogging / posting within hours or a day or two of the ride.) 
  • "6Forks-Strickland" is a shorter and flatter way back to my abode, but it does have more traffic.  However, at roughly 2:10 pm, not "too much" traffic.  I must have been a bit tired since I finished the ride the shorter and definitely flatter routing. 
  • 1120 start, solo    --    mid-70sF w/ SW breeze    --    2h49 elapsed  
  • 39.4-miles.  2:46 in-motion.  avg 14.2-mph. 
  • no photos 
  • -> Hcutt-Nwood-MVC-Carpenter-DocN-OliveBr-Carp-Leesville-N-6F-Strickland 
  • 1225 start, solo    --    mid+ 50sF w/ NNE breeze    --    2h45 elapsed 
  • 37.7-miles.  2:40 in-motion.  avg 14.1-mph. 
  • I started this ride from a friend's since I was dog/house-sitting for said friend. 
  • Seeing the distance of this ride, I recall the most interesting thing encountered on this ride.  Just before, or perhaps a better description would be "at", the Carpenter Pond / Olive Branch corner, there was an 18-wheeler that had tried to use a car's driveway crossing of the fairly deep ditch along the south side of Carpenter Pond Rd -- the driver tried to cross the entry-way on a diagonal and had failed miserably -- the right-side rear wheels of the cab were adrift in the ditch, not touching bottom.  A couple cars and I carefully navigated around the trailer section which was entirely blocking the eastbound lane of Carpenter Pond.  I thought of stopping to take a photo, but figured that if I shorted the route (which I seemed to have NOT documented in the Excel file ??) I could make it back and take photos then -- after all, it looked as if the 18-wheeler would be there for quite a while.  
  • However, after completing the CP-Leesville-DocNichols-OliveBranch loop, the 18 wheeler had been rescued and was parked in the westbound lane of Carpenter Pond.  There were TWO HUGE wreckers on-site.  I reckon that they had done a rescue somewhat similar to that "Weather Channel" show -- you either know the show or you don't.  
  • After riding past the 18-wheeler, I mentioned to the two neighbors that were standing on the lawn side of their driveway across the ditch that "I guess I should have taken a photo when I first rode past here."  The neighbors chuckled.  
Friend's dog "Winnie" alert for activity.
Those are my stories for these rides, and I'll be sticking to them.